Single-Molecule Electroluminescence: Building photon sources, one molecule at a time.


The incredible feat of fabricating electrical devices made of a single molecule and measuring their charge transport characteristics is now an experimental reality, and molecular electronics has evolved into a mature field, with hundreds of publications and patents per year. Single-entity electronics, however, also opens up the possibility of exploiting the unique properties and quantum effects that matter displays at the nanoscale, for the fabrication of devices with unprecedented properties. Quantum confinement phenomena arising in molecules and nanocrystals, for instance, results in fascinating optical properties such as single-photon emission, a discrete, evenly spaced in time flux of identical photons.

The aim of the project is the fabrication of electroluminescent single-molecule devices, that will emit light as current is driven through them, to establish structure-property relationships and optimise quantum yield and photon energy, and look at emission phenomena at the smallest scale possible.

The PhD project will be highly interdisciplinary, and as such it will involve activities such as:

  • Synthesis of molecular wires suitable to the fabrication of single-entity devices.
  • Nanofabrication of molecular junctions for electron transport and light emission characterisation
  • Development of novel characterisation techniques and instrumentation for nanoscale measurements.

This project provides a unique opportunity for a chemistry student to be not only further trained in organic and organometallic synthesis, but also to learn about instrument development and nanoscale manipulation techniques, to interact with different fields through the existing collaborations with theoretical and experimental physicists, and to participate in the wider activities ongoing in our laboratory.

More information about the research, and useful references can be found at here

The project is funded for 3.5 years, and applications are encouraged from highly motivated candidates who have, or expect to have, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent in Chemistry or related disciplines (e.g. Materials Science). A background (e.g. master thesis or dissertation) in chemical synthesis or nanoscience is desirable.

Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified. Please note this position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found

To apply for this opportunity please click here

Informal enquiries are also encouraged and should be addressed to Dr. Andrea Vezzoli (

Some teaching duties may be required.